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Spark: A 4C4Equality Journal




Spark Activism

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Student group work is common practice in many courses whether they are focused on writing theory or application. The purpose of this review is to introduce one strategy for teaching cooperative teamwork. It is easy to say to a group of students, “decide as a group…” It is less common, and I am certainly guilty of this, to provide clear directions on how to decide as a group.

Consensus decision making (CDM, or sometimes known as CBDM, consensus-based decision making) is a common strategy for making decisions as a group in collective and community organizing. Used in the classroom, CDM can be a useful strategy that enables students to engage in meaningful discourse with one another. Because CDM emphasizes listening, compromise, and cooperation, it foregrounds dialogue rather than competition or adversarial debate. Ultimately, CDM helps students practice cooperation and open sharing of ideas, important skills in an age of increasing polarity.

In the sections below, I first provide a short overview of CDM. Second, I discuss CDM within the context of classroom instruction and why CDM is useful in this particular context. Finally, I share some applications for teaching CDM.